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India rated one of the worst 10 countries, workers "exposed" to unfair labour practices: Global Rights Index

By Our Representative
The International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC), the apex body of national trade union centres across the world, has characterized India as one of the worst countries from the angle of workers’ rights in its latest Global Rights Index (GRI), which seeks to rank 141 countries across the world on the basis of "97 internationally recognised" indicators.
Considering "violence, large scale exclusions of workers from labour law and arrests" for rating India in Group 5, with those countries with “no guarantee of rights”, the report, titled “The 2016 ITUC Global Rights Index”, shows workers’ rights “were weakened in almost all regions of the world, including through severe crackdowns on the right to free speech and assembly.”
The Group 5 consists of 25 countries – Algeria, Bangladesh, Belarus, Cambodia, China, Colombia, Egypt, Greece, Guatemala, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Iran, Korea (Republic of), Pakistan, Philippines, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Swaziland, Turkey, Ukraine, United Arab Emirates, Vietnam, Zambia and Zimbabwe.
"Countries with the rating of 5 are the worst countries in the world to work in. While the legislation may spell out certain rights workers have effectively no access to these rights and are therefore exposed to autocratic regimes and unfair labour practices", the report underlined.
Of these 25 countries, the report says, “The ten worst countries for working people are Belarus, China, Colombia, Cambodia, Guatemala, India, Iran, Qatar, Turkey and United Arab Emirates.”
A worse rating, 5+, is given to Burundi, Central African Republic, Eritrea, Iraq, Libya, Palestine, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan and Syria”, because in these countries there is “no guarantee of rights due to the breakdown of the rule of law”, the report states.
The best rating of 1 has been given Austria, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Iceland, Italy, Netherlands, Norway, Slovakia, Sweden and Uruguay. The report says, these countries offer the best protection of trade union rights to workers.
The report says, in India, “Police has used disproportionate violence against workers protesting to call for the payment of due wages and workers were detained for exercising their rights guaranteed in national laws. Private security guards hired by companies also use violence against workers picketing to demand the payment of their wages.”
It predicts, “The situation is likely to get worse as the government has proposed to make changes to the labour laws which would undermine fundamental rights”, pointing out, “The draft law stipulates that at least 10 per cent of the total employees or 100 workers would be needed to form a trade union.”
“Another provision would allow companies employing up to 300 workers to lay off staff without government permission, as against 100 workers previously”, the report notes, adding, “In India 85 per cent of manufacturing firms employ less than 50 workers, and around half of these workers are kept on short-term contracts and earn just USD 5 or USD 6 per day.”
Giving several examples of how labour is under stress in India, the report says, “The new law contained no provisions to promote collective bargaining, putting the emphasis instead on arbitration”, adding, Several provisions of the bill referred to either recognised or certified negotiating agents without providing for procedures for the recognition of such agents.”
“Furthermore, the bill provided that all office bearers of a registered trade union would have to be actually engaged or employed in the establishments or industry with which the trade unions is concerned, restricting a union’s freedom to choose its own officers”, the report states.
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Download full report HERE

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